Console Wars: What are the Buying Factors of Console Buyers? Are Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo on the Right Track?

We came across an interesting survey of what factors are important for consumers for making a buy or no buy decision in case of new consoles. To me personally, the most important factors for making a decision are the following:

  1. One or two great exclusives from the start. Good foresight for exclusives in the years to follow.
  2. Nice launch bundle with a proper discount compared to buying the console and game(s) separately.
  3. Technically on par with competition to not miss out on 3rd party games.
  4. I expect a great online experience with a reward system (earn points for discounts, not just for the sake of points) in 2018.

So far, I’m disappointed in the big 3 (Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo). To me, they seem quite consumer unfriendly. Microsoft had a launch debacle with the Xbox One, trying to force you to buy digital-only, use kinect for the user interface, and to be always online to play. Now they bring out a new version of the console, the Xbox One X, but with no exclusives that are worth mentioning. Then you have Sony with the PS4. The launch consoles are now slow as hell. Digital downloads take ages. The launch controllers were of bad quality, and initially they gave the consumer good value with the free monthly Playstation Plus games, but it seems that after Sony gained enough market share at the expense of Microsoft, they simply did not give a shit anymore about their monthly subscribers. Nintendo is Nintendo. I loved and sometimes still love their games, but they’ve been unfriendly towards consumers for many years now. Gimmick after gimmick, not listening to their loyal fanbase, lawsuits against fans for no actual reasons besides money grabbing behaviour, and always bringing products on the market that are slightly better than the original product. Like a back light for the Gameboy Advance. And now we go slowly towards a ‘microtransactions generation’ of gamers that simply don’t know better.

They just accept the fact that we move towards an industry wherein new games are simply not finished, require 50gb updates from the start and that are launched without a single player experience. And multiplayer experiences will start to change into pay-to-win loot box fiestas. Anyways, let’s go the story that involves the survey:

Over the past year, the games industry has taken an unusual turn. More triple A titles have micro-transactions not only baked into them but as an integral part of the gameplay experience. Microsoft released an upgraded Xbox One console but didn’t offer a lot by way of exclusives. Some of the better gaming experiences have come from unusual sources like Larian Studios, Platinum Games and the old-school Nintendo with its new Switch console.

However, Sony has played a fairly big part in this year’s quality releases. A number of them like Persona 5, Nioh, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, Horizon: Zero Dawn and Nier: Automata continue to remain exclusive to the PS4 (with two releasing for PC later). Then you look at their upcoming games line-up which includes  Days Gone, Detroit: Become Human, Spider-Man and much more. Is there still value in these exclusives and how does Sony manage to keep delivering them even as game development costs apparently sky-rocket?

We spoke to IDC Research Director for Gaming and VR Lewis Ward who stated that, “Well, like Nintendo, Sony has a massive worldwide game development team. Sony of course makes movies and music and other forms of entertainment, so understanding story structure and character development is in their DNA. If you notice, they really don’t make free-to-play games that are open-ended and therefore have no clear conclusion other than player burnout.

“Sony’s internal studios like to tell beautiful looking stories that have some emotional impact, possibly with a deeper message or philosophy buried in them if you think about them. That’s an increasingly unusual position in the games industry. As far as exclusives games go, see this figure,” said Ward.


“This is from a survey of ~3,000 US console gamers in Q3’17, and as you can see, about 10% of respondents said the exclusive games catalog is a key reason why they’re leaning toward buying one console system over another in Q4’17. So exclusive games are far from the only factor in buying decisions, but they’re nearly tied for 3rd most important factor.”

So the next time you wonder how Sony has more exclusives than Microsoft or why it takes so long to get those games right, it’s probably due to how important such titles are for the PS4’s market share. What are your thoughts on it all? Let us know in the comments and stay tuned for our full interview with Lewis in the coming days.


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Console Wars: What are the Buying Factors of Console Buyers? Are Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo on the Right Track? IDC Analyst: Sony PS4’s Exclusive Games Are In “Increasingly Unusual Position In Industry”

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